Tag Archives: reproductive rights

French conservatives protest invoice permitting IVF for lesbians


Conservative activists marched by Paris on Sunday to protest a French invoice that will give lesbian {couples} and single ladies entry to in vitro fertilization and associated procedures.

Conventional Catholic teams and far-right activists who held mass demonstrations in opposition to France’s legalization of homosexual marriage in 2013 organized the protest, arguing that it deprives youngsters of the proper to a father.

LGBT activists and left-wing teams held a counter-demonstration in opposition to them.

Police blocked off a number of streets in Paris to forestall violence between the 2 teams.

A number of different nations already supply assisted copy to lesbians and single ladies however French regulation at the moment permits it just for infertile heterosexual {couples}.

The invoice is a part of a broader bioethics draft regulation below debate on the Nationwide Meeting. France’s well being care system would cowl the price of the procedures for all ladies below 43.


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Mississippi metropolis tries to restrict noise close to abortion clinic


Noisy battle is widespread outdoors Mississippi’s solely abortion clinic, with protesters typically utilizing bullhorns to amplify their voices and the clinic itself blaring music to maintain sufferers from listening to the protesters.

Homeowners of close by companies say the commotion is a headache for his or her prospects who wish to take pleasure in a meal or purchase some garments.

In response, the Jackson Metropolis Council voted 3-1 Tuesday to enact an area legislation limiting amplified sound outdoors well being care services and creating buffer zones to maneuver protesters farther from the entrances. The legislation is ready to take impact in a couple of month, and opponents say it unconstitutionally limits their proper to free speech. A court docket problem is probably going.

The council vote got here days earlier than a federal appeals court docket was set to listen to arguments over a 2018 Mississippi legislation that may ban most abortions after 15 weeks.

Like many locations within the Deep South, Mississippi is a conservative state with a Republican-led Legislature that has been enacting legal guidelines to limit entry to abortion. Southern cities the place abortion clinics are positioned are typically extra socially and politically liberal. That’s the case in Jackson, the place most Metropolis Council members are Democrats.

However, throughout the Jackson debate, council members mentioned limiting noise and making a buffer zone is an try to assist sufferers and native companies relatively than to assist the clinic.

“This actually is about entry to well being care,” Council president Virgi Lindsay, a Democrat, mentioned after noting that individuals who spoke for the ordinance reside in Jackson whereas most of those that spoke towards it reside different locations.

The scene outdoors the brilliant pink clinic, Jackson Girls’s Well being Group, was comparatively quiet Wednesday, with out amplified sound.

One man, who’s an everyday there, held wood rosary beads and murmured prayers. Just a few women and men tried handy biblical tracts to folks as they drove into the clinic car parking zone. Three folks sporting rainbow-striped vests emblazoned with “Clinic Escort” took turns attempting to dam protesters’ view of the sufferers, and a few escorts walked with ladies from their vehicles to the clinic door.

As a car with a license plate from Newton County, Mississippi, drove into the car parking zone, Pastor David Lane referred to as out: “I do know some of us in Newton who will enable you to! I do know some of us in Newton who will undertake your child!”

“Oh, David, that’s sufficient,” clinic escort Derenda Hancock mentioned to him with exasperation.

Individuals from either side are outdoors the clinic so usually that most of the protesters and the volunteer clinic escorts know one another by identify.

The clinic is in Jackson’s eclectic Fondren neighborhood, a brief drive from the Capitol constructing the place legislators have enacted a number of abortion restrictions which were blocked by federal courts.

Throughout the road from the clinic, protesters typically stand outdoors eating places and a T-shirt store and maintain graphic posters of aborted fetuses. Hancock mentioned the ordinance received’t eliminate these photographs however may cut back the noise.

“Whether it is enforced the way in which it needs to be, it is going to enable the Jackson Girls’s Well being Group to be extra prefer it needs to be — a traditional well being clinic the place ladies can come and not less than have some dignity and a few privateness,” Hancock mentioned.

The Jackson ordinance prohibits folks from protesting inside 15 ft (5 meters) of any entrance to a well being care facility. It additionally says that inside 100 ft (30 meters) of the doorway of a well being care facility, every particular person has a “private bubble zone” of Eight ft (2 meters), and that until the particular person offers permission, no person else might get contained in the bubble handy over a leaflet or to interact in “oral protest, training or counseling.” Additional, the ordinance prohibits amplified sound inside 100 ft (30 meters) of the property line of a well being care facility.

Violation carries a $1,000 high-quality, 90 days in jail or each.

A federal appeals court docket in February upheld the constitutionality of a 2009 Chicago ordinance that created an 8-foot (2-meter) bubble zone outdoors medical services. However, in 2014, the Supreme Courtroom struck down a 2007 Massachusetts legislation that banned folks from standing inside 35 ft (11 meters) of an abortion clinic.

Dr. Coleman Boyd, an emergency room doctor who leads a nondenominational Christian church in a Jackson suburb, mentioned he and his household usually pray outdoors the clinic and to attempt to speak ladies out of getting abortions. He believes the ordinance is unconstitutional.

“They’ve one objective,” Boyd mentioned. “They wish to silence those that are towards abortion.”

The proprietor of the T-shirt store, Ron Chane, instructed the Metropolis Council abortion protesters have yelled throughout the road at him. He mentioned he didn’t deserve “any of these self-righteous feedback.” He additionally expressed frustration with the clinic, saying if it was as much as him and different native enterprise house owners, the clinic may not be there in any respect.

“Possibly it might be a canine park or a car parking zone,” Chane mentioned. “We simply need peace.”


Observe Emily Wagster Pettus: http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus .


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Moroccan journalist denies charges of illegal abortion


A Moroccan journalist appeared on Monday in a packed courtroom on charges that she had an illegal abortion after becoming pregnant while single.

The case has gained attention among journalists and rights groups.

The 28-year-old Hajar Raissouni has been jailed since Aug. 31. She denies having had an abortion and claims she was married to her Sudanese fiancé under Islamic law. The fiancé, a gynecologist and two others also were jailed.

They appeared in court as dozens of protesters gathered outside the courthouse in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, chanting “freedoms are in danger.”

Abortions are illegal in Morocco as is premarital sex. Raissouni faces up to two years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Raissouni claims she was arrested outside a clinic she visited for an “urgent intervention,” not an abortion.

“She was not arrested in flagrante delicto. She didn’t confess to any crime. But this is the state of our country … We’ve reached the level where women’s bodies become the subject of public debate,” said one of Raissouni’s lawyers, Fatiha Chtatou.

Raissouni didn’t speak in court Monday, but was expected to when it convenes again over the case on Sept. 16.

She works for the Arabic-language paper Akhbar Al Yaoum, a major daily critical of the state. Family members maintain that her arrest was politically motivated and that she was targeted because she is a journalist who covers a grassroots opposition movement.

Amnesty International has called for Morocco to drop charges and release her.

“Hajar is a victim in all this,” her uncle Soulaimane Raissouni, a columnist at the paper where she works, said in an interview.

Police reportedly forced Raissouni into a medical exam at the time of her arrest.

“It is a rape of her body. It shows that the state controls the bodies and freedom of a woman,” said Ibtissam Lachgar, spokeswoman for the rights group Alternative Movement for Individual Freedoms.


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France drafts legislation to increase IVF to lesbians, single girls


Single girls and lesbians in France now not must go overseas to get pregnant with a health care provider’s assist below a proposed legislation that will give them entry to medically assisted replica at house for the primary time.

A bioethics legislation drafted by French President Emmanuel Macron’s authorities contains language to increase who’s eligible for procedures reminiscent of synthetic insemination and in vitro fertilization, or IVF. French legislation at present limits assisted replica to infertile heterosexual {couples} solely.

Whereas the French authorities says it’s responding to adjustments in society, its invoice is certain to generate debate when it comes up subsequent month in parliament. After France in Might 2013 made it authorized for same-sex {couples} to marry and undertake kids collectively, tons of of 1000’s of protesters marched in Paris.

The draft requires France’s nationwide well being care system to cowl the price of 4 rounds of assisted replica per being pregnant for all girls as much as an age restrict but to be set.

The invoice additionally permits kids conceived with donated sperm to seek out out the donor’s id upon demand once they attain age 18, a change from the strict donor anonymity protections France has now.

Nonetheless, it might not take away France’s ban on surrogacy preparations during which a girl carries and delivers a child for another person.

French LGBT rights teams lobbied for the proposed provisions after France legalized same-sex marriage2013. They stated permitting lesbians and single girls to have IVF and different procedures would preserve moms and their infants from working afoul of the French authorized system and provides them entry to the nation’s beneficiant well being care system.

“This merely is a measure of equality for French feminine residents, no matter their sexual orientation is,” the Affiliation of Homosexual and Lesbian Mother and father and Future Mother and father stated in a press release.

Twenty conservative teams are already organizing a protest for October to denounce the invoice, alleging it can result in extra kids raised with out fathers. The teams additionally fear the expanded entry to being pregnant procedures would finally result in the legalization of surrogate pregnancies.

“Saying that you simply’re creating new rights … whereas ignoring the results for youngsters on objective is a revolting and despicable course of,” stated Alberic Dumont, vice chairman of Demonstration for Everybody, a bunch that’s among the many invoice’s critics.

Lesbian {couples}, single girls or each have already got authorized entry to medically assisted replica in 18 of the European Union’s 28 nations.

French girls who cannot get procedures at house and might afford it usually go to neighboring Spain or Belgium, the place a single spherical of IVF spherical prices a number of thousand euros ({dollars}).

Virginie, 36, who lives within the southern metropolis of Marseille, married her spouse, Cecile, in June. The 2 girls determined to not look forward to passage of the federal government’s proposed legislation to attempt to develop into mother and father, fearing the parliament debate may final months.

As an alternative, they selected to make use of donor sperm mailed from Denmark for 1,000 euros ($1,112). That course of is prohibited in France, which is why Virginie, who plans to hold the child, didn’t wish to be recognized along with her final title.

“If that first attempt does not work, we’re contemplating utilizing the brand new French legislation,” she instructed The Related Press.

Virginie stated it is troublesome doing one thing that’s unlawful and she or he thinks the proposed legislation would assist many French girls. However she additionally fears it would set off an anti-gay backlash and encountering medical professionals who balk at serving same-sex {couples}.

Amandine Zevolino, 35, and her spouse, Camille dwell in Montpellier in southern France and have been married for a yr and a half. Zevolino went to Spain to attempt to get pregnant, however did not really feel snug with the anonymity and industrial side of utilizing a sperm donor.

She lastly determined to carry out at-home insemination with the assistance of a buddy who agreed to donate the sperm.

“We did a contract, even when we all know it does not have any authorized worth,” Zevolino stated. “If it really works, the kid will understand how he/she got here to the world.”

She continues to be hesitating about telling French medical staff the reality. The scenario “forces us to lie,” she lamented.

Zevolino thinks the parliament debate will ignite political tensions, however she additionally hopes the brand new legislation will assist French society develop into extra accepting of lesbian and single moms.

“Often in France on that sort of challenge, as soon as the legislation is handed, it is definitive,” she stated.


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Hundreds protest Louisiana’s passage of ‘heartbeat’ bill


Hundreds of demonstrators filed into the Louisiana State Capitol a day after lawmakers passed a strict new abortion ban that Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed into law.

Many on Thursday wore bright pink T-shirts reading “We Stand With Planned Parenthood” on the front and “We Won’t Back Down” on the back, in protest of the so-called heartbeat bill. The measure bars abortions once there’s a detectable fetal heartbeat, as early as the sixth week of pregnancy.

Demonstrators, some with babies in tow, filled the Capitol’s lobby even though they couldn’t chant or bring signs inside. Many said policymakers have proven they’re against women and women’s health and said that despite the ban, abortions will continue but just won’t be safe.

Later Thursday, Edwards announced he had signed the measure.


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Missouri Senate joins GOP anti-abortion wave with 8-week ban


Missouri’s Republican-led Senate has passed a wide-ranging bill to ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy, acting only hours after Alabama’s governor signed a near-total abortion ban into law.

The Missouri bill needs another vote of approval in the GOP-led House before it can go to Republican Gov. Mike Parson, who voiced support for an earlier version Wednesday.

It includes exceptions for medical emergencies, but not for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. Doctors would face five to 15 years in prison for violating the eight-week cutoff. Women who receive abortions wouldn’t be prosecuted.

Republican Senate handler Sen. Andrew Koenig described it on Thursday as “one of the strongest” abortion bills yet passed in the U.S.

Missouri joins a movement of GOP-dominated state legislatures emboldened by the possibility that a more conservative Supreme Court could overturn its landmark ruling legalizing the procedure. Its senators voted only hours after Alabama’s governor signed the most stringent abortion ban in the nation on Wednesday, making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases.

Outnumbered Missouri Senate Democrats launched into an attack on the bill before Republican supporters had a chance to bring it up for debate on the Senate floor.

“So much of this bill is just shaming women into some kind of complacency that says we are vessels of pregnancy rather than understanding that women’s lives all hold different stories,” St. Louis-area Democratic Sen. Jill Schupp said.

Missouri is among a growing number of states where abortion opponents are working with renewed enthusiasm following President Donald Trump’s appointment of more conservative high court justices. Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia have approved bans on abortion once fetal cardiac activity can be detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy. Similar restrictions in North Dakota and Iowa have been struck down in court.

Supporters say the Alabama bill is intentionally designed to conflict with the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationally in hopes of sparking a court case that might prompt the justices to revisit abortion rights.

Missouri’s bill also includes an outright ban on abortions except in cases of medical emergencies. But unlike Alabama’s, it would kick in only if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

If courts don’t allow Missouri’s proposed eight-week ban to take effect, it includes a ladder of less-restrictive time limits ranging from 14 to 20 weeks. Roe v. Wade legalized abortion up until viability, which is usually at 22 to 24 weeks.

“This is not a piece of legislation that is designed for a challenge,” Missouri’s Republican House Speaker Elijah Haahr said. “This is the type of legislation that is designed to withstand a challenge and to actually save lives in our state.”

Republicans and Democrats worked for hours to reach a compromise on the bill, which included an expansion of tax credits for donations to pregnancy resource centers, and waters down other provisions.

The approved version of the wide-ranging bill bans abortions based solely on race, sex or a “prenatal diagnosis, test, or screening indicating Down Syndrome or the potential of Down Syndrome.” It also requires that both parents be notified for a minor to get an abortion, but a change was made after hours of late-night negotiations to remove the requirement when a parent lacks legal or physical custody. Current law requires written consent from only one parent.

Still, some lawmakers on both sides of the debate walked away unhappy.

Democrat Schrupp said even after changes, it’s “an extreme and egregious piece of legislation that puts women’s health at risk.”

“It is outrageous that it has no exemptions for victims of human trafficking, rape or incest,” she said.

Republican Sen. Bob Onder said negotiators went too far to compromise, leaving the bill “a shadow of what it once was.”

“This should be entitled not the ‘Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act,'” Onder told colleagues on the Senate floor, “but the ‘Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act, sort of kind of only after the minority party and the strongest Planned Parenthood lawyers in the country were done with the bill.'”


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These Trans Latinas Started Their Own Beauty Co-op to Defy Discrimination


Lesly Herrera Castillo. Photos by Alyza Enriquez. 

Lesly Herrera Castillo has perfect, long blond hair and flawless, mascaraed eyelashes. She’s a beauty expert, but, she said, she has always faced challenges working at beauty salons. Castillo is trans, and when she first moved from Mexico to the United States in 1999, she was undocumented.

In Mexico, Castillo was rejected from job after job because she’s trans, before becoming a beautician. “I never wanted to be a cosmetologist or whatever, but there were no more options for me,” she told Broadly.

Castillo went to beauty school and worked at salons in the city of Hermosillo, but eventually fled due to police violence. When she moved to New York at 29, surviving day to day wasn’t easy, recalls Castillo, especially since her Mexican cosmetology license wasn’t recognized in the US. After a few months, she landed a job at a beauty salon in Brooklyn through a friend. She has worked in salons ever since, but not without issue.

Castillo said she has frequently been treated as lesser than her salon colleagues for being trans. She remembers clients dropping hints that she didn’t know anything about women’s hair, or making repeated comments about her having large hands. She also said that former bosses held her to higher standards than her coworkers, especially those who were documented.

“When I talked to my boss [about my coworkers], I said, ‘Why do you let these people work here? They come in late. They don’t help with the cleaning,” she recalled. “But they had [cosmetology] licenses. Those ladies were born here. They were citizens. It was different.”

In 2014, Castillo received asylum status. That same year, she was diagnosed with colon cancer, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and breast cancer all at once. At various salon jobs she held in the following years, she says that she could never take a day off to see a doctor, was not allowed to leave early, and was constantly afraid she would be fired. “I never had time.”

Experiencing harsh working conditions and repeated two-fold discrimination has compelled Castillo to join two other trans immigrant women, Joselyn Mendoza and Linda Dominguez, to start a trans workers’ cosmetology cooperative, called the Mirror Trans Beauty Coop, in Queens, New York. Becoming a co-op will mean that the women will split pay equally and be their own bosses. The co-op is starting small, with just the three women working collectively in homes or at events. But when the women get together, their conversations quickly turn to expanding, welcoming more people of every gender, and inspiring other cooperatives like their own.


Joselyn Mendoza.

Discrimination in the workplace is one of the primary obstacles that transgender Americans face, especially immigrants and people of color. And it has the potential to worsen. The 2015 US Transgender Survey found that employment discrimination was higher for trans Latinx people than white trans people, reporting that 27 percent of trans Latinx people faced mistreatment at work due to their gender identity, and 29 percent were denied a job or a raise or fired because they were transgender.

Under Federal Title VII law, it is illegal to fire or deny employment to someone based on their sex. Since 2012, this has been interpreted by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as including gender identity and sexual orientation, meaning trans employees are protected under the law. Last October, however, the Trump administration’s Justice Department attempted to challenge this definition by filing a brief arguing that the Supreme Court should rule that discrimination on the basis of gender identity is different from discrimination on the basis of sex, and therefore legal. It was also reported that the Trump administration is pushing for a new understanding of gender under Title IX laws, which protect against gender discrimination in education programs, as defined solely by the genitalia one is born with.

Many cities and states have specific anti-discrimination laws in place to protect trans workers. Since 2015, New York City has had strict regulations to this effect: Employers must use someone’s expressed name and pronouns, they can’t enforce a dress code that has gendered differences, and they must let people use the bathroom that matches the gender with which they identify.


These laws aren’t always enough to protect trans workers. “In my many years of experience, what I’ve found is that the laws only prohibit the most overt kinds of discrimination,” Jill Weiss, an attorney who has worked on trans employment rights for 18 years, told Broadly.

Castillo and her colleagues hope a cooperative work structure, in which members equally own a business and split the earnings, will circumvent race- and gender-based inequities. The women meet once a week at the Queens LGBT Center (Q-Center) to collectively plan the co-op’s launch. Last September, they began a five-month training program given by Greenworkers Co-op Academy, which aims to teach people how to structure a business and fundraise, as well as offers networking opportunities.

“In my previous work, I was exploited; I worked overtime for minimum wage,” Joselyn Mendoza said at a meeting of the nascent collective, speaking in Spanish through translator and friend Daniel Puerto. Mendoza was previously employed as a dishwasher, a job at which, she says, she was always pressured to work more hours than her cisgender colleagues.

Mendoza rattles off the benefits of creating a co-op: They would be able to share wages fairly, determine their own schedules, and pick their own clients—meaning they wouldn’t have to serve people who are rude to them based on their identities. They would no longer have to miss English classes or doctor’s appointments, and could schedule around them. Maybe they could contract for weddings or quinceañeras, maybe, eventually, for television shows, she mused. “That’s why we must have this co-op. To give opportunities to trans women like us.”


Lesly Herrera Castillo.

LGBTQ and immigrant co-ops around the country are organizing with many of the same goals as Castillo, Mendoza, and Dominguez: taking control of their schedules and pay and fighting workplace discrimination. “A co-op should practice a more just economy, where everyone has the same value,” says Heloisa Maria Galvão, founder of the Vida Verde Brazilian domestic cleaners’ cooperative in Boston. “It’s different from enterprise, where the structure is a triangle with a CEO at the top.”

Vida Verde was founded in 2006 with the mission of raising awareness about the widespread exploitation of immigrant domestic workers. Every month, Vida Verde workers give 20 percent of their earnings to the co-op to pay for an office, a coordinator’s salary, babysitters for meetings, and, sometimes, a stipend if a member of the coop falls sick and cannot work. The co-op is not currently run by a domestic worker, but Galvão says she hopes it will be one day.

The Black and Brown Workers Cooperative in Philadelphia has similar goals, but a different model. Born in 2016 as a sort of union for workers at LGBTQ charities, the co-op creates campaigns to remove bosses accused of sexual harassment and raise awareness of racism in the workplace. “These co-ops are one way to be in charge of our means of production,” said one of the founders, Shani Akilah. “We’ve been socialized in a white supremacist society that works on an individualistic model. We need spaces we can create for ourselves.”


In search of such independence, Castillo stopped working at salons in 2014, and has since been working ad-hoc jobs, cutting hair and dyeing highlights in homes, making ends meet as she waits for the collective advertising and bargaining power of her future co-op.

In the past few weeks, the women came up with a mission statement for their project: “Mirror seeks to reflect a vision for a more inclusive and equitable world in which all people have the freedom to fully express all that which makes them beautiful inside and out.”

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Next week, the Mirror Trans Beauty Coop will take their first step towards expanding: meeting with two other women who have applied to become members. They will soon discuss if they want to incorporate as a limited liability company, a corporation, or something else. They expect they will begin working as a coop by the summer of 2019.

Above all, Castillo wants this co-op to inspire other women like her: “We want this power for other transgender people to make a co-op for cleaning, or a co-op for—I don’t know what else.” Perhaps, Castillo says, co-ops are the way for all LGBTQ people to have “good options for a better future, and a better life.”


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